Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Sony Connects Up At CES

Posted by Andrew at 7:30 AM on January 10, 2012

Sony LogoSony‘s CES focus this year is on electronics, content and network services combining to deliver high quality entertainment anytime and anywhere. Supported by a slew of product announcements, new connected devices range from TVs, Blu-ray players and A/V receivers through to tablets, smartphones and PCs and on to camcorders and mobile music players. Sony is combining these with online services for music, video and game delivery, creating a great user experience (as they say). TVs, PCs, smartphones and tablets are key to this experience as the four main devices used for entertainment.

Sony is committed to designing technologies for every aspect of consumer entertainment – in or out of the home, on the go, in the air, at work, at play, or wherever life takes you,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. “When these products are combined with Sony Entertainment Network (SEN), which offers innovative services like Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, as well as PlayStation Network, the user experience is truly unmatched and only made possible by a company like Sony.”

The Bravia TV line has been expanded in all three areas; entry level BX, step-up EX and flagship HX. Brightness and contrast levels have been increased and picture quality improved with Sony’s X-Reality and Motionflow video technologies. In particular the latter helps to reduce blur caused by rapid camera movements which is often a problem with LCD screens. Sony is sticking with the Google TV platform with a new network player and Blu-ray player featuring Google TV. Certain Bravia models will link seamlessly to these devices to provide Google TV features directly on the TV.

Sony Xperia ion smartphoneSony’s Vaio range of computers will continue to be updated with more entertainment feature and new designs that fit with consumers’ needs and increasing mobility. At CES, Sony will be demonstrating new technologies and prototypes for a range of technologies including glasses-free 3D.

In the smartphone space, the Xperia brand has done reasonably well, but increasing the smartphone share in North America is now one of Sony’s highest priorities. Sony Ericsson will be subsumed into Sony Mobile Communications and all new phones will carry Sony branding. The latest addition to the Xperia line-up is the Xperia ion, Sony’s first LTE smartphone coming with an HD 720p display and aluminium body. Also new is the Xperia S which comes with 3D image capture.

Sony Bloggie LiveOn the imaging front, no less than 13 new Handycam camcorders are being unveiled. A new image stabilisation system called Balanced Optical Steady Shot has been developed that controls the complete optical path from lens to sensor as a single floating unit. This reduces handshake blur by up to 13 times compared to the previous models. There’s a new camcorder model with a built-in video projector that has improved brightness and enhanced audio. The trusty Bloggie range now has a “Live” model which will live stream HD video over a Wi-Fi connection and there’s an unboxing over at sister channel TPN.tv. Of course, Sony has a bunch of new Cybershot digital still cameras.

Z Series Audio MP3 PlayerFinally, it wouldn’t be CES if Sony didn’t announce a Walkman or two. The new Z series of MP3 players comes with an application interface and connectivity to both Sony’s Music Unlimited and the Android Market. Content can be played from Z series devices either wirelessly using DLNA or via HDMI to Bravia TVs. To further improve the audio experience, no less than eleven new Balanced Armature earbud-style headphones are now available as well.

That’s it – a quick overview of the products on show at CES by Sony and they all look like fun.

Lexar Takes CompactFlash to 150 Mb/s

Posted by Andrew at 10:29 AM on January 6, 2012

Lexar CompactFlash ProfessionalEach year, CompactFlash gets faster and more capacious, despite being one of the older memory card formats around, and it looks like 2012 will be no different. Lexar has announced a new addition to its Professional range with 1000x CF cards that support minimum data transfer speeds of 150 Mb/s, allowing the capture of high-quality images and 1080p full-HD and 3D video from a suitable DSLR camera.

Available in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB capacities, the CF cards support the VPG-20 specification meaning the card has been tested and guaranteed for professional video capture streams at up to 20 MB/s. To get the video off the card, Lexar offer a high performance USB 3 card reader.

Included with the purchase of a Professional CF card is Lexar’s Image Rescue software (downloadable) which will help recover accidently deleted photos and videos from the card.

The new Lexar Professional 1000x CompactFlash card will be on-sale in February, though the 128 GB variant won’t be ready until April. Recommended prices are 16 GB – $169.99, 32 GB – $299.99, 64 GB – $529.99, and 128 GB - $899.99 (ouch!)

You might be wondering what significance the “1000x” is. The original CompactFlash cards had a transfer rate of only 150 kb/s which itself was based on the data transfer rate of CompactDiscs (CDs). Geek fact for the day.

My First 3D Movie

Posted by Andrew at 12:00 PM on August 6, 2011

Today I saw my first 3D film in a cinema…and it’s very likely to be my last. Not because I’m thinking of shuffling off this mortal coil but because it was a second rate experience at a premium price.

Where do I start? First of all one size does not fit all. The glasses suitable for an adult are not going to fit a 3 year old so why there aren’t smaller frames for young ones at children’s films, I’ve no idea.

Second, I came away from a 2 hour film feeling absolutely knackered and ready for a good snooze. This is not normal for me and I can only assume that it’s something to do with the 3D effect. At least it didn’t give me a headache.

The polarising glasses make everything extra dark too. You fumble around in the dark trying to find packets of sweets before finally taking off the glasses so you can see where they are. Not conducive to the cinematic experience.

There’s no doubt that the 3D effect works, but after admiring it for the first 10 minutes, I’m not convinced it really adds that much to the film. Story and character development are worth so much more and you don’t expect to pay extra for those (though admittedly you don’t always get them).

Movie directors, don’t waste your time on 3D filming: just hire better writers for decent plots as I won’t be returning to a 3D film. Stick to 2D and I’ll be regular customer with my family.

XpanD Universal 3D Glasses

Posted by Andrew at 4:38 PM on February 11, 2011

Michael Williams from XpanD takes Andy McCaskey through the benefits of their range of universal 3D glasses.

Unbelievably, the 3D glasses provided with active-shutter 3D TVs are not always compatible between brands. It’s sometimes possible to make them compatible by wearing the glasses upside down but clearly this is an unsatisfactory solution for long-term viewing. I know, you couldn’t make some of this stuff up.

Fortunately, XpanD have introduced their active-shutter Universal 3D Glasses (X103) which are compatible with all makes of TV and they can be used in XpanD-equipped movie theatres and cinemas. The glasses have a small button on the frame that allow the user to toggle between the different brands of 3D TV. Available now for $129 which is comparable with the brand-name models, so why not buy a pair that you can use in your house, your friend’s house, your local sports bar?

For real 3D aficionados,  XpanD has a pair of Youniversal glasses (X104) that are the ultimate glasses for tweaking and customising. Via iPhone and Android apps, the user is able to alter the settings of the glasses to adjust for environmental settings such as room lighting or medical conditions, e.g lazy eye. Available in April and price TBA.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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Gunnar 3D Glasses

Posted by Alan at 3:24 PM on January 30, 2011

Gunnar, a high-end eyeglass manufacturer is introducing a line of 3D glasses.  Their glasses carry a claim that they are not only outdoor sunglasses, but also adjust to indoors lighting and reduce eye strain when using a PC.  But, their newest line are 3D!  So now you can take your own set of glasses to the theater.  Jeffrey Powers stops by the booth and gets a hands-on with a couple of pairs.  You will have to watch the video to get the details.  The 3D line reatails from $99 – $149.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast.

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Sensio’s 3D Technology

Posted by Andrew at 11:54 AM on January 30, 2011

Tom interviews Canadian firm, Sensio on their development of stereoscopic cinematic technologies – that’s 3D to you and me – and the launch of three new products.

  1. The Sensio Hi-Fi 3D Codec for superior quality 3D video, which is being adopted by several content providers.
  2. The Sensio Autodetect, which analyses video and determines the 2D or 3D format (side-by-side or top-and-bottom). Very handy for hardware manufacturers who don’t have to produce different models for different markets.
  3. The Sensio S2D switch, which converts 3D content into 2D content. Although this seems niche at the moment, as more 3D-only content becomes available, there will be times when it needs to be displayed two-dimensionally, e.g. when there  aren’t enough 3D glasses to go round.

All of these technologies are aimed content creators and manufacturers and the average consumer will never know that their set-top box or over-the-top box uses these technologies. Regardless, it’s interesting to see the technologies announced now that you’ll be using in a year’s time.

Interview by Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Sharp 3D Camera Smartphone!

Posted by Andrew at 5:31 PM on January 24, 2011

Todd gets his hands on Sharp‘s prototype smartphone with built-in 3D camera. It’s a working device which takes still pictures (video wasn’t confirmed) and no news on a potential release date, but 3D is getting everywhere.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Sony 3D Consumer Video Cameras – HDR-TD10 & Bloggie 3D

Posted by Andrew at 5:20 PM on January 24, 2011

Todd talks with Paul from Sony about the the “first” 3D consumer-level video camera. The HDR-TD10 records double HD at 60 fps  with a full pair of optical imaging systems in the one camera. Playback can be either in 3D or 2D, with the camera automatically eliminating one video channel if necessary. Available soon for about $1500.

The Bloggie 3D also puts in a quick appearance on the video, if you’re looking for something cheaper at $250.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Samsung 950 Series 3D Displays

Posted by Alan at 9:24 AM on January 24, 2011

The upcoming Samsung 950 is not only 3D capable, but is also being billed by Samsung as their top-of-the-line 2D display as well.  This set will even do 2D to 3D conversion.  It has an ultra thin chassis and no bulge in the back because all of the electronic are built into the base.  It’s LED display that has the thinness of an OLED panel.  It will be available in two versions – a monitor and a combination HDTV and Monitor.

There’s no word yet about when the 950′s will hit the market, but they are saying that will likely be the first half of this year.  Of course there is also no price as of yet, but you can almost always expect to pay a handsome price when you buy top-of-the-line gear.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central

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